TORONTO, April 2 (Reuters) - The Canadian government said on Tuesday it was encouraged by TransCanada Corp's announcement that it plans to move forward on a plan to convert and build pipeline infrastructure to transport crude oil from Western Canada to eastern Canadian markets.
The project could potentially eliminate Canada's reliance on the higher priced crude oil that it currently imports to supply East Coast refineries.
Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada, on Tuesday said its Energy East Pipeline would have the capacity to transport as much as 850,000 barrels of crude oil per day.
"Our government strongly supports initiatives to construct energy infrastructure to transport western Canadian oil to the east," said Canada's Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver, during a press conference. "It is in the national interest to replace higher-cost foreign crude with lower-cost Canadian crude to consumers and refineries in Quebec and Atlantic Canada."